New Westminster dancer hopes to make a career of it
A young New Westminster man is on his way to a professional career on the ballet stage.
Every day, 17-year-old Christoph Von Riedemann travels from his Royal City home to high school in Kerrisdale, where the half-day program gives him more time to dance.
When school’s done, he hops on a bus to Granville Island, where he is enrolled in the program at Arts Umbrella Dance Company, a non-profit group which offers a professional training program for talented youth. There he spends another three hours practising choreographed dance routines with professional dance teachers.
Even on Sundays it’s more of the same, with a full day at Arts Umbrella.
One day, he’d like to dance full time.
“Ideally I would like to get employed by a dance company, but it’s hard to do, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed,” he said.
And according to Noni Raskin from the Arts Umbrella, he has the drive and talent so there’s a good chance he will succeed.
“If you asked any choreographer or dance teacher who has worked with him there’s no doubt that he’s going to have a career in dance.”
After his Grade 12 graduation in June, Von Riedemann will enter the Arts Umbrella’s Graduate Program, which is designed to prepare dancers for a professional career.
It’s been quite a journey for the young man who, at 11, quit soccer and joined a ballet class to “burn some energy and stay active.”
It was a neighbour who told him about the program at the Arts Umbrella and it was his mom who pushed him to try it out.
He started out in the Boys Only program, which he says was a good introduction.
“You get to wear sweatpants and stuff and it’s a bit more fun and it kind of eases you into the idea of ballet.”
Von Riedemann has already been scouted by professional companies and had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographer William Forsythe of the Frankfurt Ballet in New York City.
“He’s one of those people that changed ballet and sort of blurred the lines between ballet and contemporary dance, which is really interesting,” Von Riedemann said.
Although he has high hopes for his future career, today he says he enjoys dance for its own sake.
“It’s a great way to stay active, I find it’s really rewarding, it’s a lifestyle that I really admire,” Von Riedemann said.
“I feel as though I am a better person for it.”
Von Riedemann will dance in this year’s Arts Umbrella season finale, titled Expressions 2012, which will feature original choreography.
For tickets call 604-684-2728 or go to www.artsumbrella.com.
The season finale is at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, on May 25, 8 p.m. and May 26 at 2 and 8 p.m.